AFSCME Local 946 union members, who work at the nonprofit Bet Tzedek Legal Services agency near downtown Los Angeles, advocate in court on behalf of sweatshop workers and other exploited people on the margins. Bet Tzedek in Hebrew means a “House of Justice.”
But now they are fighting for a bit of justice for themselves. The staff are protesting their employer’s plans to price quality medical coverage completely out of their reach: Employees paying $30 per month for dependent health care, for example, would be forced to pay $683 per month under the new plan.
It was a virtually unprecedented show of labor power and unity in politically conservative Orange County, CA, when hundreds of County Eligibility Workers turned out at two high-profile public awareness actions this week.
On May 6 and May 7, the workers joined forces with religious leaders, the Orange County Labor Federation, the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) and other supporters, first at a somber evening vigil and then at a spirited rally, to demand that the County Board of Supervisors do the fiscally and ethically responsible thing by funding Social Services at sufficient levels.